Really, we didn’t need another Beyonce album this soon.
The fiercest diva on the planet dominated 2003 with her Grammy-winning, multi-platinum solo debut, “Dangerously in Love,” then continued her reign by reuniting with the Destiny’s Child gals in 2005. And didn’t she just have a smash with “Check On It” earlier this year?
Actually, she hasn’t taken much of a break since Destiny’s Child came on the scene in 1997.
Give us a chance to miss you, B.
Not likely. Just in time for her 25th birthday, Jay-Z’s main squeeze pops out “B’Day,” her second solo release, comprised of 10 songs and a bonus track. Featuring overused hitmakers like The Neptunes, Swizz Beatz, Rich Harrison and Rodney Jerkins, to name a few, the album threatens to be a slick but superficial attempt to get Beyonce yet another hit.
But you know what? As Beyonce-weary as the world may be, only a true hater could find fault with “B’Day,” a scorcher from start to finish. Beyonce macks her way through sexy come-ons, blowout jams, bump-and-grind numbers and throwback grooves, coming at you with the volume blaring away at 10.
Whereas “Dangerously In Love” portrayed Beyonce as the hopelessly romantic, sometimes vulnerable girlfriend, on “B’Day,” Beyonce is in complete control of everything — from her sexuality to her bank account.
“Take my credit cards, the key to my house, take my car — long as you give mama some sugar,” says Beyonce, singing like she’s in a backwater juke joint on the sizzling, retro R&B track “Suga Mama.” And on the sexy pillow groove “Kitty Kat,” she vows to lock up her most precious asset when her man fails to truly appreciate it — “you don’t want don’t want my body? ... You would rather go and party? Somehow, somewhere I’ll be naughty” she sniffs, adding the zinger — “your sex ain’t all that.”
And while Beyonce has never dished the dirt on her relationship with Jay-Z, it’s hard not to wonder if there is trouble in paradise on songs like “Ring the Alarm,” which has Beyonce frantically trying to hold onto her man — not for what he is, but all that he has. “She’ll be rockin’ chinchilla coats if I let you go ... she’ll be rocking everything I own if I let you go” she pleads on the musically daring track, which intersperses blaring horns in between handclaps and heavy percussion. She sounds hyper, confused, paranoid — like she’s about to throw some hot grits on someone in a second.
But it’s the only track that features a Beyonce so mentally unglued by the prospect of losing a man. On the acoustic pop song “Irreplaceable,” she reminds her soon-to-be ex that she’s the mack daddy of that relationship, and she can quite easily find another man to step into the role of Beyonce’s boo.
The best track on the CD — which features her real-life boo, Jay-Z — shows how just being graced with a touch of B can boost a man’s entire profile. “I can do for you what Martin did for the people,” she brags on “Upgrade U,” with a cockiness and bravado that she previously kept under wraps.
Maybe that’s why blogs are on fire with anti-Beyonce postings, why we’re growing weary. She’s just too good. Maybe we just can’t handle it. Even Beyonce seems to acknowledge this with one of the great lines from “Upgrade U.”
“This ain’t a shoulder with a chip or an ego — but what you think they all mad at me for?”
Sure, she’s a bit full of herself. But she’s Beyonce. Wouldn’t you be?